food

Paula Deen's son: Mom is 'doing really fantastic'

Sep. 25, 2013 at 9:53 AM ET

Video: Jamie Deen talks with TODAY’s Matt Lauer about how his mother, Paula Deen, is doing after she lost many of her corporate sponsors in the wake of a lawsuit alleging she made racist remarks. He also shows how he makes his special eggplant rigatoni, a family-friendly favorite.

It’s been a difficult summer for celebrity chef Paula Deen and her family, but her son says she has pulled through it in upbeat fashion.

“It’s tough,’’ Deen’s son, celebrity chef Jamie Deen, told Matt Lauer on TODAY Wednesday. “You’re in this business, people are going to take potshots at you. You accept that with the opportunities that it allows you, but personal attacks on your mom is never an easy thing. We know who mom is, and people that know us and love us know, so you’ve just got roll with the punches. I mean what are you going to do?”

On Sept. 14, Deen made her first public appearance since the immediate aftermath of a lawsuit filed against her by an employee. In a deposition for the lawsuit, Deen admitted to using racial slurs in the past, resulting in her being dropped by the Food Network and a host of other major sponsors as well as having the release of a new cookbook cancelled by the publisher. The lawsuit has since been dropped, and Deen’s supporters have showed up in force at recent events.

Jamie Deen's family-friendly pastas and desserts

She was reduced to tears when she received a standing ovation at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertainment Show in Houston earlier this month. On Sept. 19, she appeared with Jamie at a signing in their hometown of Savannah, Ga., for his new book, “Jamie Deen’s Good Food.”

“Yes, I’m back,’’ she told WTOC-TV at the event. “Well actually, I never went anywhere. I just took a little breather.”

“She’s doing really fantastic,’’ Jamie told Lauer. “We’ve gotten tremendous love and support, and of course we would just do anything for mom. It’s been an interesting summer for us, but we’ve been through challenges as a family before, and we’re going to be fine.’’

Jamie’s new cookbook recounts stories of family laughter over dinner to add a personal touch to the recipes. On Wednesday, he whipped up some baked eggplant rigatoni from the “Oodles of Noodles’’ chapter in his book. 

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